VAR took centre stage as Phil Neville’s side were narrowly beaten by the world’s No. 1 ranked team
England have been knocked out of the Women’s World Cup after a dramatic 2-1 defeat to the USA in Lyon.
Captain Steph Houhgton missed a crucial late penalty as the Lionesses were eliminated in the semi-finals for second consecutive time at the tournament.
After three goals in the first-half, VAR took centre stage in the second as England desperately searched for an equaliser.
Ellen White, who netted for England in between goals from Christen Press and Alex Morgan, was cruelly denied a second goal when her boot was judged to be offside on review.
But the Lionesses were given a lifeline in the final ten minutes when referee Edina Alves Batista decided White was clipped in the box following a lengthy check with VAR.
Houghton assumed responsibilities instead of regular penalty-taker Nikita Parris, and her tame effort was saved.
Moments later, Millie Bright was given a second yellow card and sent off as England’s World Cup hopes suffered a final nail in the coffin.
The US will now be back at the Groupama Stadium on Sunday to take on the winners of the second semi-final between Holland and Sweden.
England will face the loser of that match in Nice a day earlier, now hoping to achieve a third-place finish for a second successive World Cup.
US coach Jill Ellis had sprung a surprise with her team selection by leaving Megan Rapinoe – scorer of both goals in the 2-1 quarter-final victory over France – out of the starting XI, but it was replacement Press who opened the scoring.
Kelley O’Hara’s cross from the right wing found Press unmarked at the back post and the forward placed a header beyond Telford, with the delivery having floated over the head of closest defender Lucy Bronze, who will feel she should have done better.
The 10th-minute goal was just reward for the Americans’ dominance of the early exchanges, but England hit back with their first real chance nine minutes later, when Beth Mead’s low delivery teed up White for a side-footed finish.
After Sauerbrunn went close to scoring an own goal, as she attempted to intercept Keira Walsh’s ball into the box, the Americans restored their lead when Lindsey Horan’s chipped cross was headed home by Morgan, who beat Demi Stokes to the ball.
Walsh drew a full-stretch diving save from Naeher with a 25-yard strike after 33 minutes, but England lived dangerously when Telford’s poor attempt to pass to Bright was seized upon by Press, who sent a shot wide from the edge of the box.
Neville’s side then thought they had equalised as Jill Scott flicked Walsh’s pass forward to play White in and she slotted past Naeher, but the effort was ruled out for offside following a VAR check.
Having had that decision go against them, England were then aided by VAR after White, trying to apply the finish to Stokes’ cross, went down in the box under pressure from Sauerbrunn.
Having watched footage of the incident back pitchside, referee Edina Alves Batista deemed White to have been fouled, pointed to the spot and Houghton stepped up.
But the change in taker did not alter the outcome as the captain saw her attempt from 12 yards kept out.
Things then got worse for England as Bright was sent off, being shown a second yellow card following a slide tackle on Morgan.